Although we had all available appendages crossed in the hope that Fender would send us the gorgeous Daphne Blue incarnation of its Limited Edition American Standard Strat with Rosewood Neck, there's no doubt that it's still a looker in Three-Colour Sunburst.
Every inch an American Standard Stratocaster, apart from its one-piece rosewood neck with a hand-rubbed oil finish, there's a special vibe here that sets this instrument apart from its siblings in Fender's 2015 Limited Edition range - the neck's sumptuous feel and lightly-rolled edges giving this 'Standard' much more of a Custom Shop or boutique flavour.
"There's a warmth and a woodiness to the midrange and a slightly softer high end"
With a feature set that's otherwise identical to the American Standard Stratocaster since the 2012 overhaul - bent steel saddles, Custom Shop Fat '50s pickups, parchment scratchplate and aged plastic parts the overall level of fit and finish is tidy, as expected, and it really is all about that modern C-profile neck.
The light figuring of the rosewood looks as good as the neck feels, and the etched headstock adds a further touch of elegance. We can't wait to plug it in...
Unable to resist the allure of a one-piece rosewood neck, we plug in the Limited Edition American Standard. While its tonal identity is still firmly rooted in classic Stratocaster territory, there's a warmth and a woodiness to the midrange and a slightly softer high end, thanks in no small part to the aforementioned timber choice and the voicing of the high- quality Custom Shop pickups.
As always, having a tone control for a Strat bridge pickup is a real boon for faux-humbucker tones with high gain, and the natural voice of this instrument helps those sounds out a lot, too.
Anyone who usually finds a maple-neck Strat too brittle and glassy, and likes a little luxury into the bargain, should check out the Limited Edition American Standard Strat with Rosewood Neck fast - it's drop- dead gorgeous in its Daphne Blue incarnation, and justifies the additional outlay.